4 Week Australia Travel Itinerary
You asked, and here it is - every last detail of our itinerary including accommodations, transportation, dining recommendations, and all things related to our four week Australia adventure! No part of our trip was sponsored, but if you do book any of the Air BnB's we stayed at be sure to book through this link to get $55 off your first reservation - and I'll get credit towards our next trip too!
Sydney 3 Nights
Transportation: We took the train from the airport to our hotel but an Uber is the cheapest option, we did not have a rental car and had no problem getting around by walking, using Uber, and public transit.
Accommodation: Fullerton Hotel - for the first three nights of our trip we opted for a hotel without a kitchen or washer and dryer. These amenities are normally a necessity when we travel, especially with kids, but we figured we would be so excited upon arriving that staying in and making our own food would be the last thing we would want to do! We enjoyed eating out those days, although be forewarned - it is an expensive city when eating out!
We took the double decker hop on hop off bus which was a good way for the kids to see the city without wearing out their legs. It also allowed us to get out to Bondi Beach and the ride coming back was gorgeous!
Try to find a performance to see at the Sydney Opera House - this really allowed us to fully experience the opera house.
The kids weren't old enough to do the Sydney Bridge climb, but we just walked across the bridge and the views were spectacular. After crossing we made our way to The Secret Garden in Lavender Bay which was a delightful respite from the city.
We didn't go on the rides at Luna Park but we stopped for a photo op in front of the iconic entrance.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are worth a visit, but we loved the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne and Brisbane even more!
We took a fairy to Manly Beach. Before heading to the big surf of Manly stop and check out the calm harbor side beach near the ferry terminal. Try to catch the ferry back at sunset for spectacular city skyline views.
Lamrock Cafe in Bondi
Rivareno in Darlinghurst for Gelato
Baia the Italian in Darling Harbour had excellent Buy 1 Get 1 free Happy Hour offerings!
The Bavarian in Manly Beach
Melbourne 4 Nights
Transportation: 1 ½ hour flight from Sydney to Melbourne. Uber in and around Melbourne
Accommodation: Air BnB in the heart of the CBD
The Mebourne Riverwalk is a gorgeous way to see the city
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria were a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. The kids enjoyed eating at the teahouse in the gardens.
We took an Uber out to St. Kilda Beach and Pier hoping to keep the kids there long enough to watch the famous penguin colony strut ashore at dusk, but alas they didn’t last that long. Regardless, the trip to this seaside neighborhood was worth it.
Royal Park Nature Playground
We were going to rent a car and do the notable Great Ocean Drive, but figured the kids would not enjoying spending the entire day in the car
Laurent Bakery had delicious pastries right below our Air BnB
Vegie Bar innovative vegetarian food in a funky neighborhood
Universal Carlton amazing Italian food in a beautiful neighborhood
Cairns 4 Nights
Transportation: 3 ½ hour flight from Melbourne to Cairns. Rental car in Cairns through Airlie Beach.
Accommodation: Vue Apartments on Trinity Beach - Trinity Beach is a short 20 minute drive north of Cairns and we are happy we opted for a more peaceful, secluded location versus staying in the city.
Cattana Wetlands Trail
The Skyrail Tram took us up to the Katumundi Village. You can also take the tram one-way and the train the other, but we opted to do the whole trip via the Tram and the views were spectacular.
The drive North of Cairns is full of jaw dropping scenery. We stopped at several lookouts and beaches in between rain storms before arriving at the Daintree Rainforest.
The Bruce Belcher Crocodile Tour in Daintree Rainforest took us on a one-hour scenic river boat ride where we spotted numerous crocs lounging in the river. They were difficult to spot but our knowledge guides found them easily.
A highlight of our entire trip was snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef with Sunlover Reef Cruises. Our tour took us to a pontoon on the Moore Reef where we had hours to snorkel among the technicolor reef and sea life. Onboard the pontoon we took advantage of underwater viewing platforms, a touch tank of sea critters, and a water slide right into the ocean!
Townsville 2 Nights
Transportation: 4 ½ hour drive from Cairns
Accommodation: Air BnB on the Strand Marina
The ferry to Magnetic Island was located right across the street from our AirBnB. While on Maggie Island we rented a convertible pink car from Tropical Topless car rentals to get around.
Maggie Island: Hiking the Forts and spotting Koalas
Maggie Island: Finding Rock Wallabies
In Townsville there is a free water park along the Strand. Many Australian cities have similar free water parks, lagoons, splash pads, and pools to beat the heat.
Locals like to get their workout in by hiking to the top of Castle Hill, but we opted to drive to the lookout.
Longboard Bar & Grill had great views
Airlie Beach 3 Nights
Transportation: 3 ½ hour drive from Townsville
Accommodation: Air BnB at the Boathouse Port
Like many of the other cities with visited, Airlie also hosts a beautiful, sprawling Lagoon Pool. We enjoyed spending the afternoon here cooling off.
We spotted cockatoos in many of the towns and cities we visited, but Airlie seemed to have the greatest population of them. We were able to get right up close and personal with many. While beautiful, they do make a lot of racket!
Whitehaven Beach is said to be one of the most spectacular in the world. We took a day cruise there via Whitehaven Express which also stopped along the way to allow us to hike up to a viewpoint overlooking the Whitsunday Islands. Whitehaven beach was magical and the best beach we visited during our trip. Crystal clear water and white silica sand under our toes made for a perfect beach day.
Sorrento had wonderful food and a great atmosphere
Noosa 3 Nights
Transportation: 1 ½ hour flight from Airlie to Brisbane. Rental Car in Brisbane. 1 ½ hour drive to Noosa from the Brisbane Airport.
Accommodation: Lovely Air BnB in Tewantin which backed up to the Noosa National Park. Lots of Kangaroo sightings, a lovely cubby house, trampoline, and pool.
Noosa beach is a popular getaway. We opted to drive to the Noosa Spit and walk the coast up to the main beach.
Every city in Australia has a zoo. But If you only have time for one, make it the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo! The Irwin family is dedicated to animal conservation and profits go directly to the animals they are working to protect. We lucked out and got to see the whole Irwin family – Terri, Bindi, and Robert - in action as they fed Crocodiles just as Steve Irwin once did.
There are many wildlife encounters you can book at the Australia Zoo. We opted for the Lemur encounter and it was worth every penny! We got to experience uur own private tour and lemur feeding. A photographer was on hand to capture the whole encounter and purchasing the photos was reasonably priced. Book ahead as they fill up in advance.
The Eumundi Market is one of the largest in the world and it did not disappoint. Everything is either handmade, grown, or built by local artists or farmers.
Gold Coast – Surfers Paradise 3 Nights
Transportation: 3 hour drive from Noosa to the Gold Coast, we opted to take the slower scenic route along the coast for part of the drive.
Accommodation: Rhapsody Resort in Surfers Paradise
Renting bikes and riding to the Broadwater Parklands. We won’t talk about me crashing off the kids bicycle course and tearing up my legs and knees.
We had a day of rain so Kendall and I went to the Crazy Cat Café for some indoor entertainment while Dan and Lucas hit up Timezone Arcade
Surfers Paradise Beach seemed to stretch on for miles. It got really hot during the day but our evening walks at sunset were perfection.
On our drive to Brisbane we drove through Mt. Tamborine National Park and stopped at the Rainforest Sky Walk for an amazing trek over and under the rainforest. The pastries and coffee at the café were delicious, so don’t miss getting a snack there.
Brisbane 3 Nights
Transportation: 1 ½ Hour Drive to Brisbane
Accommodation: Air BnB in the heart of the CBD
I wouldn’t consider the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary a zoo, and you definitely don’t need a whole day set aside to visit, but we spent a good 3-4 hours here feeding kangaroos, interacting with the wildlife, and cuddling koalas (a highlight for us all!). For $25 AUD each we were able to get a quick Koala cuddle and professional photo of the encounter. Money well spent and one of the few places the kids were old enough to participate in holding a koala.
South Bank was a sprawling riverside oasis of parks, playgrounds, pools, and restaurants. While we opted to stay in the CBD, I do wish we would have booked accommodations in this beautiful riverside area. Nevertheless, it wasn’t more than a quick 20 minute walk and Brisbane is chock full of scooter and bike rentals, so regardless where you stay, it’s an easy trek.
The South Bank area has museums and parks galore so it’s an easy way to fill an entire day. The kids enjoyed the many pools, splash pads, and artificial beaches, which we enjoyed the live music, restaurants and laid back vibe.
Most museums in Brisbane are free and we took advantage of that! The Modern Art Museum and Art Museum ______ were well worth a visit. Keeping the kids engaged and interested was easy with the many kids craft areas, drawing supplies, and other interactive exhibits.
Jamie's Italian was great for kids
Mucho Mexicano on South Bank
Cowch Dessert Bar had innovative desserts and the kids loved it!
Pancake Manor was worth the visit just to eat in the converted church turned pancake restaurant!
Sydney 3 Nights
Transportation: 1 ½ hour flight from Brisbane to Sydney. Uber within Sydney.
Accommodation: Sebel Quay West Suites
The walk from Coogee to Bondi Beach was worth the effort. The kids were super proud of themselves for making this trek and were rewarded with hours of beach time at the beautiful Bondi Beach.
The free Observatory and Planetarium are worth a visit, but only visit if you have already done all the other Sydney highlights.
The Chinese Friendship Garden has a small admission cost ($20 AUD for a family) but it was definitely worth it. The kids did a scavenger hunt activity and the garden is truly spectacular.
No day in Sydney with kids would be complete without a visit to a playground or splash pad and the Darling Harbour Children's Playground and Water Park were a fantastic incentive to offer the kids after a day of exploring.
Have I convinced you to visit Australia yet?! This was the most epic adventure we have taken yet and I don't think any of our future travels can ever compare. Australia is truly magical. The wildlife, varied landscapes, the culture and people, the weather, it was just truly a transformative experience. In four weeks we barely scratched the surface of all the wonders this amazing country has to offer. We will definitely be back again one day.
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